Heather Darling wins Torch Trophy Trust Award

The Torch Trophy Trust was founded in 1962 with the object of encouraging and recognising voluntary work throughout the UK. Annually, the trust invites Governing Bodies to nominate an individual in recognition of outstanding voluntary work for their sport. I was honoured that my nomination was selected to receive an award and I was invited to accept it in London along with my guests and eighteen other recipients.

We were fortunate to have time to soak up the London atmosphere before the ceremony and take in some sights such as the London Eye and the four-storey M&M store!

We arrived at the prestigious Army and Navy Club on Pall Mall where the Honorary Secretary of the Trust greeted us and led us to the drinks reception prior to the ceremony.  We were no sooner seated, when everyone was instructed to stand to welcome the guest of honour, HRH The Princess Royal who was accompanied by President of the Trust Sir Bobby Charlton, CBE. Individually our nominations were read out and we accepted our awards on stage from Princess Anne who asked questions relating to our sporting involvement.  Thereafter, Sir Bobby Charlton, CBE was awarded The Lifetime Achievement Award which was an absolute privilege to witness.  A further reception followed the ceremony where my partner, son and I had the opportunity to talk to Princess Anne about Volleyball, Rugby and Scottish weather as well as a warm conversation with Sir Bobby Charlton about his award and various sporting topics.  The young inspiration Lizzy Yarnold, GB Skeleton Champion was also in attendance with her Gold Medal from Sochi. 

I was just a Mum working in the bank, and became involved with Volleyball because my eldest Son was playing in the Academy.  I began helping with the P3/4 group and from there decided to retrain which has led to a job as Active Schools Coordinator in the Queensferry Cluster where I can build on these vital school to club links with the great children we have in the area. I remain active with The City of Edinburgh Volleyball Academy on the committee and as a coach and mentor. I also sit on the Scottish Volleyball Association Youth & Schools Commission as President, which has really opened my eyes to what is involved in making junior sport happen. I love my job, thoroughly enjoy working with young people and creating opportunities for them to shape their lives, so to be recognised for doing what I am passionate about was both a big surprise and very humbling.

Listening to all the nominations highlighted to me that whatever the sport, disabled or able bodied, that in every club and organisation, there are key people giving up their time to do fabulous things and keeping their sport alive and successful. And for every person nominated that night with their story of selfless dedication and cheerful enthusiasm, there are hundreds doing exceptional things in communities across the UK.

I am delighted that Scottish Volleyball was recognised and I accept my award on behalf of everyone in our sport who gives their time for the benefit of others, as without those individuals, Volleyball would not grow.

I would like to thank Graeme Spowart and The Scottish Volleyball Association for nominating me and allowing me the opportunity to have such fabulous memories of a really special day!


Heather Darling